A meeting with Dr. Binayak Sen - 10th July 2011
Himalaya Brahmo Samajnoted human rights activist and crusader for social justice Dr. Binayak Sen - a Brahmo by birth, met the members of the Brahmo Sammilan Samaj on 10th July 2011. n an interactive session Dr. Sen spelled out his views on social equality and the work that he has been doing amongst the poor in Chattisgarh.

Dr. Sen said that in thuis country - social inequality is increasing and it is evident in our eyes. He mentioned that as per the WHO standards if more than 40% of the population have a BMI below 18.5 - the population is said to be going through a famine. As per statistics 37% of India's population has a BMI below 18.5, which is 60% for SC and 50% for ST. Thus it can be said that there arfe famine like conditions in the country as per the WHO guidelines.

The State is taking away the common property resources (jungle / water / land) of the people either through money (peaceful) or through forcible means. The work that Dr. Sen and his colleagures are doing in Chattisgarh is to help these communities fight for their existence. They are working in unision with the communities to make their lives a little better.

When they are seeing that the poor people are being strippedof their existence there is no other means than to protest - this protest is being done in a constructive way and not through secretive or devious means. Howver the State has termed this as "illegal". Dr. Sen is fortunate that his case has been publicised - but others have notr been so lucky. Many have been put in behind bars under the Sedition Act (Section 124A). Many of these cases have not been brought to light.

Dr. Sen asked the members of the auduience to think about the current state of the country. We need to come to a decision - it is not possible to be neutral. If we do not perotest with all our strength then if would seem that we are tacitly in agreement with this oppression. We should act based on our conscience.

India is spending 1% of its GDP on Public Health (which is one of the lowest in the world) and it is proposed to make this at 3%. Dr. Sen and his colleagures are demanding universal right to receive appropriate treatment with zero cash transaction at the point of provision. Dr. Sen is continuing his fight in pursuing the laws of health and striving for a comprehensive health care policy. He believes that the law will give a formal shape to the social changes.
We caught up with Dr. Sen after the programme and he gave his response to the following questions

Q.     Which ideal of the Brahmo Samaj do you think is more relevant today?

The Brahmo Samaj does not have the purohit based religion. It has a high sense of equality - all are treated equally and their is no high or low among the people.

Q.     What is your message to the youths and to the Brahmo youths in general?

They should pay heed to the current social and political situation, and should be serious to do their duties as responsible human beings. Brahmo Samaj should provide a platform to consider these facts - it can no longwer remain as a solely religiuous body standing on the sidelines.

Q.     What are your views on the "anti - corruption protests" that are taking place in this country?

Corruption is a major factor in our public life. It is upto us to bring about a change here. Laws caan give shape to these changes.

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